Free Basics : Corporate freedom to privatise India’s Basic Economy
By Dr Vandana Shiva – medium.com | vandanashiva.com, 29 December 2015
Sources: https://medium.com/@drvandanashiva/free-basics-will-take-away-more-than-our-right-to-the-internet-4d39422fe122#.y1zrm8q26 | http://vandanashiva.com/?p=369
As the TRAI decides the fate of Free Basics, Mark Zuckerberg is in India with ₹100 crore, in pocket change, for advertising. Facebook’s Free Basics is a repackaged internet.org, or in other words, a system where Facebook decides what parts of the internet are important to users.
Reliance, Facebook’s Indian partner in the Free Basics venture, is an Indian mega-corporation with interests in telecom, energy, food, retail, infrastructure and, of course, land. Reliance obtained land for its rural cell phone towers from the government of India and grabbed land from farmers for SEZ’s through violence and deceit. As a result and at no cost, Reliance has a huge rural, semi-urban and suburban user base — especially farmers. Although Free Basics has been banned (for the time being), Reliance continues to offer the service across its networks.
A collective corporate assault is underway globally. Having lined up all their ducks, veterans of corporate America such as Bill Gates are being joined by the next wave of philanthro-corporate Imperialists, including Mark Zuckerberg. The similarities in Gates and Zuckerberg’s perfectly rehearsed, PR firm-managed announcements of giving away’ their fortunes is uncanny. Whatever entity the Zuckerbergs form to handle the US$45 billion they will be investing will most likely end up looking a lot like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. ie: powerful enough to influence the climate negotiations, responsible for nothing.
What could Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg have to gain from dictating terms to governments during the climate summit? “The Breakthrough Energy Coalition will invest in ideas that have the potential to transform the way we all produce and consume energy,” Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page. It was an announcement of Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Coalition, the combined wealth of hundreds of billions of dollars of 28 private investors who will influence how the world produces and consumes energy.